Business Schools Adapt to Changing Trends

Our world experiences large-scale technology changes each and every day and we are moving forward at a rapid pace faster than ever before. This means change. And lots of it.

With change, comes the need for adaptation. In an interview with Andy Serwer, Editor-In-Chief of Yahoo Finance, Ken Freeman, Allen Questrom Professor and Dean, shared his inside perspective on how the Questrom School of Business responds to these changing trends.

Freeman explains, “Business schools are feeling the pressure of the change in what’s going to be required for workers in the future. They’re also feeling the challenge of differentiating or dying in a marketplace where the value of the MBA is being questioned in some circles and they’re also feeling the pressure of adapting to the new technology and new technology needs of the next generation.”

When asked how Questrom has altered its curriculum in response to these changing trends Freeman explains, “At BU we’ve taken a multifaceted approach.” Freeman went on to highlight Questrom’s innovative specialty degree program, the Master of Science in Management Studies. “What’s really unique about it is that we partner with industry,” Freeman says, “By bringing employers and companies into the mix with us and helping to teach the next generation we’re finding it’s very very powerful for both the company, as they learn about our students, and for us, as we learn about the needs of employers more broadly.”

Being innovative is necessary to adapt to these changes and Freeman says Questrom has that part covered, “We’ve really adopted the notion of innovation in a very different tone.”

The biggest concerns in business schools, Freeman says, is the need to differentiate while still creating value. One of the ways that Questrom learned more about the future of business education was launching the Business Education Jam, a massive online conversation on how to keep business schools relevant in the changing world. Over 60 consecutive hours, thousands of people around the world—researchers, scholars, students, thought leaders, and executives—united in a unique virtual environment to spark ideas, concepts, and collaborations aimed at closing the growing gap between industry and academia. The findings from the Business Education Jam were released in a comprehensive report.

Freeman ended with a bit of final advice for business school success. He says, “Relevance, reach, and respect, that’s what it’s all about in business schools.”


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